cover of book

Fighting Visibility: Sports Media and Female Athletes in the UFC
by Jennifer McClearen
University of Illinois Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-0-252-04373-4 | eISBN: 978-0-252-05263-7 | Paper: 978-0-252-08572-7
Library of Congress Classification GV742
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.483

Ultimate Fighting Championship and the present and future of women's sports

Mixed martial arts stars like Amanda Nunes, Zhang Weili, and Ronda Rousey have made female athletes top draws in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Jennifer McClearen charts how the promotion incorporates women into its far-flung media ventures and investigates the complexities surrounding female inclusion. On the one hand, the undeniable popularity of cards headlined by women add much-needed diversity to the sporting landscape. On the other, the UFC leverages an illusion of promoting difference—whether gender, racial, ethnic, or sexual—to grow its empire with an inexpensive and expendable pool of female fighters. McClearen illuminates how the UFC's half-hearted efforts at representation generate profit and cultural cachet while covering up the fact it exploits women of color, lesbians, gender non-conforming women, and others.

Thought provoking and timely, Fighting Visibility tells the story of how a sports entertainment phenomenon made difference a part of its brand—and the ways women paid the price for success.

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